Pope Francis is making his first trip out of the vatican since the pandemic started last year visiting Iraq .
This is the very first time any pope has ever taken a trip to this country, embarking on a four day visit.
During the trip, Francis will meet leaders from Iraq’s diminished Christian community and hold an inter-religious meeting at the ancient site of Ur, traditional birthplace of the biblical Abraham, revered by three faiths as the founder of monotheism.
Francis is said to speak with Ayatollah Ali Sistani Saturday, Sistani is a major figurehead who’s said to have a huge voice in Iraqi political dealings.
In an address to Iraqi’s top leadership, the pope spoke of the pain from sectarian violence and years of civil war that has left Iraq deeply splintered. He urged all Iraqis to come together and offered his help to bridge religious divides.
“I come as a pilgrim,” he said, addressing the people of Iraq, asking for prayers for a successful trip.
“May the clash of arms be silenced,” he said. “May their spread be curbed here and everywhere. May partisan interests cease.”
I am grateful for the opportunity to make this long-awaited Apostolic Visit to the Republic of Iraq and cradle of civilization.Pope Francis
According to a report by the US State Department, Christian leaders estimate there are fewer than 250,000 Christians remaining in Iraq, with the largest population having at least 200,000 Christians living in the Nineveh Plains and the Kurdish region in the north of the country. At one point there were
“Christian population has declined over the past 17 years from a pre-2002 population estimate of between 800,000 and 1.4 million persons,” the report says. There were also around 14 different christian denominations in Iraq prior to the phony ‘Deep State’ war George Bush got us into in 2003.